At Home in the World: Women and Charity in Late Qing and Early Republican China

At Home in the World: Women and Charity in Late Qing and Early Republican China

by Xia Shi

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Overview

Durgaing the years spanning the late Qing dynasty and the early Republican era, the status of Chinese women changed in both subtle and decisive ways. As domestic seclusion ceased to be a sign of virtue, new opportunities emerged for a variety of women. Much scholarly attention has been given to the rise of the modern, independent “new women” during this period. However, far less is known about the stories of married nonprofessional women without modern educations and their public activities.

In At Home in the World, Xia Shi unearths the history of how these women moved out of their sequestered domestic life; engaged in charitable, philanthropic, and religious activities; and repositioned themselves as effective public actors in urban Chinese society. Investigating the lives of individual women as well as organizations such as the YWCA and the Daoyuan, she shows how her protagonists built on the past rather than repudiating it, drawing on broader networks of family, marriage, and friendship and reconfiguring existing beliefs into essential components of modern Chinese gender roles. The book stresses the collective forms of agency these women exercised in their endeavors, highlighting the significance of charitable and philanthropic work as political, social, and civic engagement. Shi also analyzes how men—alive, dead, or absent—both empowered and constrained women’s public ventures. She offers a new perspective on how the public, private, and domestic realms were being remade and rethought in early twentieth-century China, in particular, how the women navigated these developing spheres. At Home in the World sheds new light on how women exerted their influence beyond the home and expands the field of Chinese women’s history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231185608
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Series: Treasury of the Indic Sciences
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Xia Shi is assistant professor of history and Marian Hoppin Chair of Asian Studies at New College of Florida.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I. Elite Women and Charity
1. Beyond a Personal Virtue
2. Being Female Philanthropists
Part II. The YWCA in China and “Women in the Home”
3. Reaching Out to Women in the Home
4. Women Interacting with the YWCA
Part III. Women in the School of the Way
5. Redefining Confucian Gender Doctrines
6. Women, Superstition, and the Reorientation Toward Charity
Epilogue
Notes
Glossary
Works Cited
Index

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